End-of-Year Recommendations, New Year’s Eve, 2022

Arguably, everyone wants to live a good life and everyone wants to be happy (unless, of course, you’re a miserable and sadistic wretch).

And arguably, connoisseurship, travel, and writing are the emblems and symbols of a Bon Vivant and in turn the emblems and symbols of a life well-lived. But there are rookie connoisseurs, travelers, and writers like myself on one hand, and then there are the legends and the greats on the other hand. And for the last blog post of 2022, I would like to share some material and in turn share some recommendations on the subject or topic of “good living” or the “art of living” for folks who want to read and pick up some information or even some inspiration from the experts and legends of “good living” and “the art of living”:

“The Travels” by Marco Polo. A medieval merchant from Venice, Marco Polo opened the Eastern world to a Western audience and to the Western mind when by happenstance and through sheer fortune and luck, he became an adviser to the legendary Mongol emperor Kublai Khan, the grandson of the famous Mongol emperor Genghis Khan. Through his office and position as adviser to the Mongol Emperor, Marco Polo traveled throughout the Eastern world or the “Orient” and in turn documented his travels and shared them with a Western audience that even at that time was eager to know and to learn about the East or the “Orient.”
“World Travel: An Irreverent Guide” by the late Anthony Bourdain and his assistant, Laurie Woolever. Bourdain and his assistant compiled quite a comprehensive list of places to visit for anyone who is interested. Bourdain was not only the greatest connoisseur, travel writer, and travel documentarian of our time, but he was perhaps the greatest celebrity and most lovable celebrity of our time as well, and with his death in 2018 came a drastic and significant drop in the quality and likability of celebrities and public figures.
“How to Live a Good Life: A Guide to Choosing Your Personal Philosophy.” Edited by Massimo Pigliucci, Skye C. Leary, and Daniel A. Kaufman. It amounts to a set of essays which give an idea of what different religious traditions and different cultures have to say about the constitution and makeup of a good life.
“How to be an Epicurean: The Ancient Art of Living Well” by Catherine Wilson. If there’s a single point or main point to be picked up from this book above all the others, it is that a good life and doing the right thing cannot be separated from one another. Thus, in order to live a good life, one must do the right thing and vice versa.
“The Travels of Ibn Battuta.” Moroccan and Muslim by origin, Ibn Battuta was the connoisseur, traveler, and writer par excellence, having surpassed Marco Polo in terms of total kilometers traveled.

And finally, an article on the legendary Anthony Bourdain, in case you’re interested. I wish all of you a Happy New Year, and all the very best in 2023 and beyond:


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